Nov 15
2018

Warner Bros has set a November 15, 2019, release date for The Good Liar, director Bill Condon’s drama starring English screen vets Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. Scripted by Jeffrey Hatcher based on the novel by pseudonymous author Nicholas Searle, it focuses on Roy (McKellen), a veteran conman and born liar who meets wealthy widow Betty (Mirren) online and believes she’s an easy mark. Roy is sure he can pull off the final coup of his career, but as the narrative entwines Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also delves deeply into their pasts, revealing nearly a century of secrets. Before Roy can close the deal, there is a reckoning to be made. Russell Tovey, Jim Carter, Mark Lewis Jones and Laurie Davidson co-star. The Good Liar will face off a year from now against Universal holiday rom-com Last Christmas, Fox’s untitled Kingsman threequel and Warners’ own Melissa McCarthy holiday comedy Margie Claus.

Nov 02
2018

“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is released today in US theaters after a release yesterday in most European countries. An adaptation of the German fairy-tale and the Tchaikovsky ballet, the story signifies the studio’s further attempts to expand their live-action output beyond remakes of their classic cartoons and Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Unfortunately, the reviews have been less than exciting, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 34% and a Metacritic number of 37. Most reviews criticize the lack of an altogether story. The Los Angeles Times writes: “The visual allure of this production is undeniable, but having the nerve to be simple and nice all the way through is, even for Disney, verging on being a lost art.” According to Rolling Stone, the “wretched attempt to turn the famous fairy tale/ballet into a blockbuster gives a bad name to family entertainment. There’s not much positive being written about the actors – Morgan Freeman in paycheck mode and Helen Mirren, reduced to mugging – oh well. Maybe it’s better received among its target audience – children, who do not yet participate in the Tomatometer 🙂

Oct 21
2018

The November issue of Harper’s Bazaar (US) has a great interview with Helen Mirren as well as a new – very fitting – photoshoot picture for “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”. She talks about this, the recent filming of “Catherine the Great” in Russia, and the recently wrappred “The Good Liar”. Here’s an excerpt from her interview, scans can be found in the photo gallery.

Obviously I play her at the height of her power,” Mirren goes on, “but she was very straightforward, a very clever and ambitious person. And of course Russia at that time was amazingly complex, violent, and difficult country to govern. But she felt she could handle it”. She is also intrigued by Catherine’s sexuality. “In our slightly puritanical, Prostestant world, it’s shocking the way she behaved. It was extraordinary for that era. She had four children by four different men”.

Oct 04
2018

The first-look photo above captures Helen Mirren in all her glory as the famous Russian ruler, Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, aka Catherine II, aka “Catherine the Great.” You can view the picture in full resolution in the photo gallery. HBO has partnered with Sky to produce the four-part limited series, which is currently shooting across Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Directed by Philip Martin (who helmed Mirren’s last Emmy-winning performance in “Prime Suspect: The Final Act”) and written by Nigel Williams (who wrote and produced “Elizabeth I,” which won Emmys for both he and Mirren), “Catherine the Great” also stars Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as Grigory Potemkin and Joseph Quinn (“Howards End”) as Paul, Catherine’s son and heir. New cast members have also been announced, including: Gina McKee as Countess Bruce, Catherine’s lifelong friend and confidante; Rory Kinnear as Minister Panin, a skillful politician, advisor and governor to Catherine’s son; Richard Roxburgh as Grigory Orlov, one of Catherine’s former lovers, who helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; Kevin R. McNally as Alexei Orlov, who, with his brother Grigory, helped orchestrate the coup that brought Catherine to power; and Sam Palladio as Alexander Vasilichikov, Catherine’s young lover. Focusing on the final years of her three-plus decades in power, “Catherine the Great” is produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures and is an HBO/SKY co-production. No release date has been set. Here’s the official synopsis, courtesy HBO:

Set against the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of Russian empress Catherine the Great, who wielded supreme power throughout Russia for nearly half of the 18th century, the limited series follows Catherine towards the end of her reign during her passionate affair with Grigory Potemkin. Amid scandal, intrigue and immense conflict, they develop a unique and devoted relationship, overcoming their adversaries and together serving as the architects of modern-day Russia.

Sep 25
2018

Go behind the scenes of Disney’s “The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” in this brand new “Crafting The Realms” featurette. Watch as the cast and crew reveal more about the story and show just how much magic is done behind the scenes! All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. Disney’s “The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” opens November 2nd. The video can be found in the video archive while screencaptures have been added to the photo gallery.